by Ayana Williford, LGSW
It might seem like common sense, but so many of us miss out on opportunities to take care of ourselves. Throughout my graduate social work program, we were constantly reminded of burnout because of the demanding, exhausting challenges of being in the social work field. If you are not taking care of yourself, you cannot take care of anyone else. I believe no matter what and who you are, you can benefit from self-care.
EXERCISE: I know most people have very demanding schedules, and taking time for exercise can feel like a minimal task on your long list of to-dos, but in actuality, it can be life-saving and well worth the time you carved out to do it. Most people know 30 minutes a day keeps the Dr. away, but I would suggest even 15 minutes a day will work just as well. I would also suggest finding an exercise you enjoy, such as Zumba, Pilates, or yoga - all of which you can do in the comfort of your own home with the assistance of a YouTube search.
HOBBIES: I personally searched high and low for a hobby I could do spending little to no money. Guess what was on the top of my list! If you guessed blogging, you guessed right. You can easily sign up for a free blogging site and write to your heart's content. You even have the option of turning your blog into a business. Way cool, right? The creative freedom involved will make you feel good about yourself. If writing is not your forte, do a quick Google search and I promise you will find something that will tickle your fancy.
COOKING: I am not the best cook in the world, but preparing a meal for yourself or friends and family can be quite soothing and satisfying. Tex-Mex happens to be one of my favorite types of food - one I find to be the easiest to prepare. You can get super creative with a tostada shell, and the outcome will look like a chef’s delight.
HOT BUBBLE BATHS: Who doesn’t love them? Not only do they relieve stress, but you can also detoxify your skin. The renewed sense of refreshment will have you walking on cloud nine. I prefer mine with soft music, candles, and a glass of wine.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. Find some time to carve out moments of self-care. Loving on yourself like no one else is the best GIFT you can give yourself.
Ayana Williford, LGSW, is currently working as a therapist in Maryland. She has a special interest in working with families and children. Ayana also believes that self-care is vital to maintaining a successful career.
(Note: This article was first published on Ayana's blog and is published here with permission.)
Editor's Note: This article is part of The New Social Worker's Self-Care Summer 2016 Project. For more ideas on self-care, see The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals.